Arena brings concession changes

Groups that can’t staff bigger stands could be pushed into the bleachers at Paige Sports Arena.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:26 a.m. CDT, Monday, June 30, 2008

MU basketball players won’t be the only ones noticing changes when the new Paige Sports Arena opens this year. Fund-raising groups will also have to adapt.

The layout of the new arena means some groups who participated in concession stand fund-raising last year will need more people if they hope to do so again this season, said Alan Petersen, director of Athletic Dining Services.

At Hearnes Center, groups needed four to six people to operate a concession stand. But at Paige, the stands are larger and groups will need between 12 and 15. Fund-raising groups include student organizations, such as the Radiology Student Association, and community organizations, such as the Kiwanis Club.

Groups that can’t meet the minimum requirement might find themselves hawking — selling concession directly to fans in the stands. Petersen said hawking during the games is a good alternative and “very lucrative.” Hawkers can be hired on an individual basis; therefore, groups of any size can participate.

“Only one group has gotten displaced, and they weren’t interested in hawking,” Petersen said. “As things change, we’re trying to give everyone the best possible solution, but sometimes things don’t match up.”

Groups that raise funds through the concession stands receive 12 percent of the sales they make. Hawkers, on the other hand, may make as high as 20 percent, Petersen said.

“The amount of money they make is all relative on how good they are,” Petersen said. “It can be a high percentage, but if someone chooses to just stand around and not work, that’s a high percent of not that much money.”

The department also plans to add more hawkers that are employed by the university. Petersen said he hopes to have a minimum of 100 hawkers, up from the 15 to 20 that were employed last year. Such hawkers are paid hourly wages.

“With the team as competitive as it should be, people won’t want to leave their seats,” he said. “They might not want to get up to get a drink or something, but if we bring it to them, they’ll buy it.”

Hawkers will work primarily at MU basketball games, though some will work the football games as well. University hawkers are also used at Mid-Missouri Mavericks games.

Athletic Dining Services plans to make a number of other changes this fall:

n Including the added hawker positions, Athletic Dining Services is looking to add about 200 people to its payroll, most of whom they hope will be MU students, Petersen said. The new jobs will include positions in the skybox of Faurot Field, at the new Paige Sports Arena and at the Athletic Dining Hall.

n Tiger fans will be able to enjoy barbecue during the games with the addition of KC Masterpiece as a franchise vendor.

“The university had a barbecue vendor a few years ago, but it was kind of a mom-and-pop outfit,” said John Felver, senior account executive for Mizzou Sports Properties. “We thought getting a brand name would be a good way to generate additional revenue.”

KC Masterpiece will offer a menu including pulled pork sandwiches, barbecue baked beans and ribs. Mizzou Sports Properties, a private contracting company that works with the university, spoke with several barbecue restaurants, but KC Masterpiece was the only one willing to pay the vending charges.

“It’s company policy that we don’t divulge financial information,” Felver said. “But I can say that it was a good five-figure number.”

n Mizzou Sports Properties went into contract with Kraft Foods on Wednesday, making Oscar Mayer the official hot dog of MU Athletics.

Felver said the dollar amount was a five-figure number, higher than the one KC Masterpiece paid.

The only other official food item of MU athletic events are Coca-cola beverage products.

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